The CEO of Women’s Health New South Wales says a lack of access to termination services in the Central West is a form of discrimination against rural women.
Denele Crozier says if a woman chooses to abort her pregnancy, the only clinics in New South Wales are in Coffs Harbour, Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra.
Ms Crozier says terminating a pregnancy is a big enough decision without having to factor in travel to a clinic, and dealing with an unknown practitioner.
She says it is not fair local women don’t have easy access to abortion services.
“It’s like cancer patients, having to travel and stay overnight,” she said.
“There are huge issues in the healthcare system and access to a termination is one of them.
“It’s very discriminatory.
“We are considered a first world country but we can’t get our act together in relation to basic health care for women in rural districts.”
Ms Crozier says providing pregnancy terminations should be an essential component of any regional health service.
“Each area should be able to identify what are essential services that should be in a region and in a hospital,” she said.
“The state should act, or the federal government should act to ensure those minimum range of services are offered and yes, full reproductive healthcare is an essential part of a women’s health and well being and should be in a local hospital.”
Ms Crozier says there has been a rise in babies being abandoned due to a lack of access to termination services.
“I’ve been working in women’s health for 30 years and in the last say, five to six years, we’re starting to see or hear reports about babies left at hospitals or being found in garbage bags,” she said.
“So we’re starting to see access is becoming more of an issue and people have to travel so far and people can’t afford that.”